The value of research: a key to brand strategies
Bets on ‘big marketing ideas’ are just that, a gamble, and short-term campaigns often don’t work. However, principled, evidence-based, purpose-driven decision making usually does.
Let’s examine the premise. Market research has its roots in the social science discipline of anthropology.
It’s about analysing the latest buying patterns and elusive trends that inform a company’s future strategies, and it’s about identifying hidden needs – this is where the real breakthroughs can occur.
In short, it’s all about empathy.
Bob Cook, the Innovation and Inspiration Director at global research consultancy Firefish, highlights the importance of research:
‘The more companies know about people and how the world around them shapes their behaviour, the more we can empathise with them.’
The research process is incremental and a discipline well worth investing time in, manifesting itself in brand imagery, product style, pricing, merchandising, communication styles, influencing virtually every aspect of your brand in fact. It’s a systematic observation of the fast-changing market that can inform the future strategies of your brand. If your target audience are ‘millennials’ for instance, by understanding their latest buying patterns and day-to-day interactions with their favourite brands, it becomes possible to identify the best places to display content, define the most suitable brand messages, and create the customer experience that will bring your brand positioning to life.
On the other hand, a closed system of creative development – one that lacks of data, insight and evidence – is more likely to be out of step with producing meaningful, long-term and measurable impact, because it doesn’t provide a solid and informed foundation from which to build, develop and create.
Development of successful brand strategies with effective long-term impact requires a deep understanding of your competitors, your existing customers and your target audience, as well as in-depth appreciation of their needs and behaviours, and an awareness of emerging trends in the market.
There is no guaranteed one-size-fits-all recipe for bringing an effective brand strategy to life. However, investment in well-executed research is the key to having a focused and meaningful base upon which to build your success.